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South African Government to Sell Stake in South African Airways to Takatso Consortium

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South African Airways - Investors King

The South African government is selling a 51% stake in South African Airways (SAA) to Takatso consortium, which will initially commit more than 3 billion rand ($221 million) to give the struggling airline a new lease of life.

SAA has been under a form of bankruptcy protection since December 2019, but its fortunes worsened during the COVID-19 pandemic and all its operations were mothballed in September 2020 when funds ran low.

The airline is one of a handful of South African state companies that depend on government bailouts, placing the national budget under huge strain at a time of rapidly rising debt.

The partnership with Takatso will alleviate that financial burden, public enterprises minister Pravin Gordhan told journalists on Friday as the state would no longer provide any funding to the airline, which exited administration in late April after receiving 7.8 billion rand from the government. read more

Gordhan added that the government will retain a 49% stake with the intention of eventually listing the airline to address future funding requirements.

“The objective of bringing in an equity partner to SAA is to augment it with the required technical, financial and operational expertise to ensure a sustainable, agile and viable South African airline,” he said.

The consortium includes pan-African investor group Harith Global Partners and aviation group Global Aviation, Gordhan said.

Following the announcement, co-founder and consortium Chair Tshepo Mahloele told Reuters that 3 billion rand should be sufficient to operate the airline for 12 to 36 months.

The government could dispose of more of its ownership stake going forward, he added.

“They aren’t married to this 49%,” he said. “They won’t be putting more money into this asset.”

An initial public offering for the airline is unlikely to happen within the next three years, and SAA would first need to become profitable, Takatso Chief Executive Gidon Novick said.

Novick said Takatso would seek to relaunch SAA as soon as possible, prioritising first domestic service followed by regional destinations.

International long-haul routes would follow but would be selected carefully, and SAA would also work to forge partnerships with major carriers.

“We’re going to be competing with the greatest airlines in the world, and we need to be mindful of that,” Novick said.

The airline’s subsidiaries meanwhile will be evaluated, in particular Air Chefs, SAA Technical and low-cost airline Mango, Gordhan said, noting that “anything can happen” when asked if some could be shut down.

SAA will continue to be domiciled in South Africa and the government will have a “golden share” of 33% of the entity’s voting rights and certain areas of national interest, Gordhan said.

($1 = 13.5379 rand)

CEO/Founder Investors King Ltd, a foreign exchange research analyst, contributing author on New York-based Talk Markets and Investing.com, with over a decade experience in the global financial markets.

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Merger and Acquisition

Access Bank and African Banking Corporation Zambia Limited Merge to Deepen Presence in Zambia

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Access bank

Access Bank Plc on Monday announced it has signed a binding agreement with Atlas Mara Limited on a proposed merger between Access Bank’s subsidiary in Zambia, Access bank Zambia Limited and African Banking Corporation (Atlas Mara Zambia).

Upon completion of this prospective transaction, the Bank is expected to retain or increase its current shareholding in Access Bank Zambia, which following the merger will have over 70 branches and agencies, approximately US$1 billion in total assets and over 300,000 customers in Zambia.

The transaction will not require significant additional capital investment requirements from the Bank given the capital and other synergies created from the merger between Access Bank Zambia with Cavmont Bank in 2020. The proposed transaction is expected to be concluded in 2022, subject to fulfillment of conditions precedent including regulatory approvals in Nigeria and Zambia.

Commenting on the transaction, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, GMD/CEO of the Bank said, “This transaction represents another milestone that brings us closer to the achievement of our broader strategic objectives. The merger of Atlas Mara Zambia with Access bank Zambia is expected to augment our presence in Zambia and the broader COMESA region, Africa’s largest free trade area.

“We are particularly excited by the prospects of increased earnings contribution to the Bank from the enlarged Access Bank Zambia, which has also announced the appointment of a new Managing Director, Mr. Lishala Situmbeko, who brings over 25 years of cognate experience and deep local relationships into our Zambian operation.

“Today’s announcement is a testament to the strong confidence of the Zambian market in the Bank’s country and regional strategy as well as our strong confidence in the long-term prospects for the Zambian economy.”

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Merger and Acquisition

Verdant Capital Advises Baxi, a Leading Super-agent in Nigeria, on its Sale to MFS Africa

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Edmund Higenbottam, MD of Verdant Capital - Investorsking.com

MFS Africa is acquiring Baxi to expand its network into Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy and perhaps its most fintech dynamic market. Nigeria is also the largest remittance market in Africa representing one-third of intra-Africa remittance flows, and is home to the largest number of SMEs.

Verdant Capital views the two businesses as highly complimentary:  Baxi simplifies and integrates online and offline payments for SMEs and merchants in Nigeria through its omni-channel distribution network; MFS Africa simplifies cross-border payments, integrating payments via one hub. The transaction further extends Verdant Capital’s track-record of advising on transactions shaping the fintech sector in Africa.

The sale of Baxi is Verdant Capital’s fifth successful fintech transaction of the year, having advised Retail Capital, a leading tech-enabled SME-financier in South Africa on a USD 10 million capital raise; Zeepay, a leading pan-African digital remittance and mobile payments business on its USD 8 million Series-A and on its acquisition of Mangwee in Zambia; and Tugende, a leading tech-enabled SME-financier in East Africa on its USD 10 million Series-A.  The transactions cover West, East and South Africa.  In part because of its successful track-record in transactions in the fintech sector, as well as because of its leading private equity franchise, Verdant Capital was named the best independent advisor of the year, pan-Africa, by Africa Global Funds, for the second year running in October 2021.

Founded in 2014 by Degbola Abudu and Folu Majekodunmi, Baxi is one of Nigeria’s largest independent SME-focused electronic payment networks. Baxi provides a comprehensive range of services to the last mile including cash-in/cash-out, account opening, money transfer and bill payment. Through its network of more than 90,000 agents, Baxi processed over USD 1 billion in transactions in the first nine months of 2021.  Following the close of the transaction, MFS Africa plans to build Baxi into a key node on its digital payment network, allowing customers to make regional and global payments to and from Nigeria. MFS Africa also intends to expand Baxi’s proposition for offline SMEs to select markets within MFS Africa’s footprint of 320 million mobile wallets across more than 35 African countries.

Strong agent networks are the crucial interface for fintechs to reach Nigeria’s circa 100 million financially unserved or underserved population. Supporting and nurturing SMEs is crucial to Nigeria’s economy, as they contribute 50% of Gross Domestic Product and provide 76% of jobs (source:  Federal Ministry of Information and Culture).  With its presence in all 36 Nigerian states, Baxi fills a critical gap by providing informal SMEs and other unbanked Nigerians access to financial services.  Verdant Capital is proud to support the leading businesses that support SMEs across the Continent.

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Cadbury Nigeria Recognised For Human Resource Management

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Cadbury Nigeria

Cadbury Nigeria Plc announced that it had been recognised as a top employer by the Netherlands-based Top Employers Institute, even as it stressed the importance of employee well-being.

Cadbury Nigeria, a subsidiary of Mondelēz International, made the announcement in a statement released on Wednesday as part of the celebration of its third annual purpose day.

The consumer goods manufacturer said it held a webinar for its employees anchored by experts in healthcare management.

The Managing Director, Cadbury Nigeria, Mrs. Oyeyimika Adeboye, said the company takes the well-being of its employees seriously, adding that they would give their best if they had the right mental attitude.

“That is the reason we organised the webinar by bringing in experts from Helen Keller International to speak to us on well-being, as part of our Purpose Day,” she said.

Adeboye added that the growing importance of holistic well-being made the company focus its annual Purpose Day activities this year exclusively on well-being in the areas of mind, body and connection.

The Country Director, Helen Keller International, Ms. Philomena Orji, was quoted as saying during her presentation, “Helen Keller is dedicated to scaling up evidence-based, cost-effective solutions to improve care practices and ensure that basic health interventions reach vulnerable people, with a focus on women, youth, and children.”

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